01.14 Fri

January 14, 2011
Dan Naddor

Theme: K? — Familiar two-word phrases where the first word ends in CK have the K removed, creating new wacky phrases, clued wackily.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Apple delivery vehicle? (MAC TRUCK).
  • 19A: Lobbying gp. bigwig? (PAC LEADER).
  • 39A: Trap for large reptiles? (CROC POT).
  • 58A: Coalition celebration? (BLOC PARTY).
  • 61A: Court dispute over footwear? (MOC TRIAL).
  • 3D: Movie with style? (CHIC FLICK)
  • 35D: Employee using a word processor? (DOC WORKER).
First, the obligatory griping: This puzzle isn't hard enough for a Friday. I can't get used to Friday puzzles having themes. Okay, now that that's out of the way. Seven theme answers is a lot of dang theme answers. I know it's pretty much what we expect from Dan Naddor, but it's worth noting that the typical themed puzzle contains four theme answers and we see plenty with only three. Packing seven theme answers into the grid really restricts your fill options, but Dan often managed to overcome that obstacle and give us solid puzzles anyway.

There's some downright sparkly fill in this grid including STEP ASIDE, ONE ON ONE, SARONG, and AMARILLO. I'm 99.9% sure I've used this video before, but I honestly never get sick of this song.

Trouble spots (i.e., things I didn't know):
  • 17A: Baroque composer Cavalieri (EMILIO).
  • 42A: Glacial ridges (ESKERS).
  • 5D: Luyendyk of auto racing (ARIE).
  • 30D: Biological bristles (SETAE).
  • 47D: Cricket violation (NO BALL).
All of those were pretty easy to figure out with the help of crosses and I'm pretty sure I've seen every single one of them in a puzzle before. Except for NO BALL. That's a new one for me. I really need to study my cricket terms. Or not.

  • 21A: Great Seal symbol (EAGLE). I really thought the answer would be something on the seal that's not quite so … obvious. Sometimes overthinking an answer is a real problem!
  • 26A: "S" on an invitation (S'IL). RSVP = Répondez S'il Vous Plaîs. It's French.
  • 27A: Label for many Elton John hits (MCA). So now we know two recording artists on the MCA label. I'm sure that knowledge will come in handy.
  • 45A: Radar's rank: Abbr. (CPL.). Is there anyone who doesn't tear up remembering the episode where Radar informs the rest of the gang in the OR that Col. Blake's plane had been shot down?
  • 46A: Fish-eating bird (LOON). The state bird of Minnesota, dontcha know.
  • 55A: Cartoonist Walker (MORT). Walker gave us Beatle Bailey and one of CrossWorld's favorite pets, OTTO.
  • 63A: Prepare for a break (RACK UP). Pool! Or "billiards," if you prefer.
  • 14D: Hockey ploys (DEKES). Learned it from crosswords.
  • 33D: Mountain West Conf. team (TCU). I believe they were involved in a big game recently, so maybe you had them on your mind.
  • 37D: Sends, obsolescently (TELETYPES). I think this one is even before my time. I remember using a TELEX, but I'm pretty sure that came later.
  • 4D: Magnalium, e.g. (ALLOY).
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 29A: Ready-to-mail item: Abbr. (SASE).
  • 44A: It parallels the radius (ULNA).
  • 6D: Greek colonnade (STOA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Illustrative words (SUCH AS); 7A: Burst (RUPTURED); 15A: Casual top (T-SHIRT); 16A: Intimate meeting (ONE ON ONE); 22A: Lab complaints (ARFS); 23A: CD-__ (ROMS); 25A: Hardy's "Pure Woman" (TESS); 31A: Ristorante suffix (-INI); 32A: Pittypat, in "Gone With the Wind" (AUNT); 34A: Aiming aid in some gun sights (RED DOT); 38A: Fourth-qtr. month (DEC.); 41A: Reveal, poetically (OPE); 48A: Pollster's query (AGE); 49A: Heartache (WOE); 50A: Homer Simpson's mom (MONA); 53A: Chestnut horse (ROAN); 56A: Nailing, as a test (ACING); 64A: Texas city on I-40 (AMARILLO); 65A: Colorless gas (ETHENE); 66A: With composure (SEDATELY); 67A: "__ Waldo?" (WHERE'S); 1D: Make way (STEP ASIDE); 2D: Dept. of the Navy component (U.S. MARINES); 4D: Black __ (HILLS); 7D: Rival of Paris (ROMEO); 8D: Takes pieces from? (UNARMS); 9D: Workout target (PEC); 10D: Carry (TOTE); 11D: Like some films (UNRATED); 12D: Compact item (ROUGE); 13D: Things with ltrs. (ENCLS.); 20D: Pipe cleaner (DRANO); 24D: Wrapped garment (SARONG); 27D: Prefix with economics (MACRO-); 28D: Insertion point indicator (CURSOR); 36D: Auspicious (OPPORTUNE); 40D: Dallas suburb (PLANO); 43D: Hyundai model (ELANTRA); 50D: Family nicknames (MAMAS); 51D: Carol opening (O COME); 52D: Battery acronym (NICAD); 55D: Papier-__ (MACHE); 57D: Pluck (GRIT); 59D: Captain's underlings (CREW); 60D: Step on it (PATH); 62D: __ du Diable: former French penal colony (ILE).


imsdave said...

I assume the theme purists will have a field day with CHICFLICK and MACTRUCK.

And speaking of trucks, the snowplows are still coming by, but I think we're finally getting back to normal after our two feet of snow on Wednesday.

Captcha - inerr (why did that one have to pick me?)

Van55 said...

One of the best Naddor puzzles we've seen in a while. I would have titled it 0K, but rated it excellent. Perfect Friday drop a letter pun theme and good misdirectionsl clues.

Bill said...

I viewed this as a postumous F***you to Rex, what with his love of the letter K and all. Other than having made that up, not really much fun, having gotten the theme early. Seven theme entries isn't always better then five. If they're intrinsically amusing, they are, but if they're just gimmes to fill in the answers, then not so fine.

SethG said...

I read the clue as [Sends, obscenely], and resisted TELETYPES even after it became obvious. Had STEADILY instead of SEDATELY from the A.

My biggest problem with the theme wasn't the non-removed CKs, it was pack leader. That really wants to be leader of the pack.

Steve Britton said...

How is black = hills? (4 Down)

*David* the Flummoxed said...

I didn't find it easy for a Friday took me much longer then usual and needed two Googles to finish. I think a large part of it was the theme and the way it was presented.

Stefania said...

Black Hills, South Dakota, I worked the downs before the crosses and plopped "Magic" in for Hills, last corner to fill and came back to fix it at the end.

hazel said...

@Steve - the Black Hills are a mountain rangelet in SDAK - think Badlands.

I'm not as big a Dan Naddor fan as many of you (though he seemed like a wonderful person) but I really really liked this puzzle. The wackiness seemed a little subtler, more understated. Really liked it.

@bill - kind of harsh! though the intrinsically amusing comment is right on. that is my prob with most wackiness and slapstick - just not that funny. as in Dane Cook unfunny! maybe I just don't like Ks!

Larry S said...

@PG, ouch, it hurts to have you say it's not hard enough. Yesterday took me 14 minutes, no googles, no errors. Today 40 minutes, several googles, and an error (oversight, didn't correct ETHaNE. Plenty hard! Still thinking about the discussion yesterday about an obscure entry, this is filled with words no one in their right mind should have a clue about. And the cluing is plenty vague for a Friday--so much so that a straightforward clue for EAGLE threw you (and many of us, I'm sure) off course.

Question: What's the problem with the letter 'k'?

Bill said...

Upon further reflection, what's wacky about MACTRUCK? MACTRUC maybe, but if you're going to change CK to C, do it!


I liked this puzzle for much of what Puzzlegirl already said, but then I'm a disciple of Dan's and so I might be biased a little.
I agree with Van55, this was one of Dan's better works, not just because of packing in seven theme couplets, but because he had some darn good fill also.

I did have an error which caused a mess in the middle. I had CROCPIT instead of CROCPOT and that resulted in SARIED for 24D (still made sense), but ULEA and ADE did not work well. Sooo a big DNFF for Johnny boy! It irks me when I get errors in a Friday puzzle and especially a Naddor theme puzzle.

I've gone to watch a cricket match, but didn't recall NO BALL... stop to think of it, I don't remember much of that game at all. I can't understand the British clinging forever to that boring game. But then there's rugby... yikes!

The only thing I didn't like in this puzzle was the clue for 52D (NICAD). I think that's an abbreviation for Nickel/Cadmium and not an acronym.

My memories of AMARILLO were these bizzare Stanley Marsh street signs on my Route 66 trip.

TGIF poof!!

Rex Parker said...


I doubt Dan was that petty.

Also, imsdave already anticipated the MACTRUCK (and CHICFLICK) objection (good call).

As for the puzzle: kind of a short answer disaster, but I like the theme. A Lot.

I often make lists of answers I would try to remove from my own grids if I could (easier said than done). Today: UNARMS, ENCLS (*and* SASE?), OPE, NOBALL, SETAE, ROMS, ESKERS, INI, SIL, ARIE, STOA, MACHE, ETHENE, OCOME, NICAD. But theme is Very demanding, so it's not too hard to overlook that stuff.



No, the rules of theme consistency say that you should not drop the second K in MACTRUCK and CHICFLICK.

PuzzleGirl said...

As imsdave mentioned, theme "purists" would have a problem with those two entries. Not because they don't follow the "rules of the theme" but because if you're going to change CKs to Cs in your theme answers, then you might want to avoid using words ending with CK for which you don't drop the K. I'm not saying anybody's opinion on this is right or wrong, I'm just explaining what the issue is for JNH's benefit (and anyone else who didn't quite get it).

(The other problem with CHIC FLICK is that it's the only one where the base word and the resulting theme word -- chick/chic -- aren't pronounced the same.)

Sfingi said...

@PG - too hard for me. DNF.

Also had ETHaNE. And Black beLtS.
Many things I didn't know, or forgot, but will try to learn: Luyenddyk (sports), PLANO, ELANTRA, Pittypat, DEKE (sports), MCA, NOBALL (sports) MONA. Hubster's starting to watch the "adult" cartoons, so I'll ask him, now.

Wasn't Bush a DEKE (Delta Kapa Epsilon?

I think we've already had the ROAN vs. chestnut debate.
Never could stand (sexist) MASH.

Though I got the theme, I just wasn't on the late Dan Naddor's wave length today. Just couldn't guess the -CK words. Except the afforemetioned obscene one and 2 more, DI--HEAD, CO--SU--ER, which wouldn't be real words. No offens, just THI--SKULLED today.

@ImsDave warned us about @Bill's 2nd post popping up. But, like my suggestions, they wouldn't be real words.

C said...

I had fun solving this puzzle. Not too hard for me as some of the more obscure answers were front of mind. I am a (former) chemist so no problem with ETHENE and I work with a lot of people who are very interested in cricket so I've had to learn a lot about the sport which helped with NOBALL.

I've always been a "color outside the lines" kind of dude so the theme inconsistencies that others have brought up don't detract from my enjoyment. Of course, YMMV and I enjoy reading other people's opinion on the subject. Very informative.

Rube said...

I, for one, certainly enjoyed this puzzle. Just the right level of doableness for an epigone like me. First had moveASIDE before STEP_, abs before PEC, and BYU before TCU. Had a chuckle over the symmetry of DRANO and PLANO.

Had forgotten EMILIO, but it came back after a few letters. Wanted Menelaus at first, but the other Paris came quickly. AUNT Pittypat? Total void.

Got the explanation of "NO BALL" from Wiki. You really don't want to know the fine points, but it is usually called by the umpire for a foot fault by the bowler, resulting in a "free" swing by the batsman. Read about it yourself for more details, (and there are a lot of details... details ad nauseum).

John Wolfenden said...

Dunno PG, I thought this was just about the right level of difficulty for a Friday. I felt good to be able to get through it unaided.

Really wanted SLICFLICK, although CHICFLICK is way better. UNARM is a little clunky but not terrible.

I'm editing a show called Top Shot about marksmen, and they have nothing but disdain for weapons with RED DOTs on the sights.

I must be missing something...why is "Step on it" PATH?

ddbmc said...

Hand up with @Larry S. Took me awhile to plod through this one. No visits to the Google-meister, but definitely needed to walk away, return & re-look. The clues/words materialize better that way for me. NW Corner was my bugaboo! Didn't know ARIE or EMILIO. S'IL and INI weren't whirling in the wheel house today. Got MOCTRIAL, BLOCPARTY & CROCPOT. Thought there was an "OC" connection, yet no! Finally "kracked" the code, but it was a struggle.

Got EMILIO E and MAGN(ali)UM, P.I., but who was the other cutie? One of the EAGLES? :)

WOTD: ESKERS-kinda like whiskers on a glacier?
@Sfingi-got DEKE. (The one sport I know!)

Avg Joe said...

This was sure Friday level difficulty for me. Finished correctly WOG, but it was a long slow slog. Got ESKERS and ROMEO entirely through crosses. I have a vague sense of having seen the former, but drew a complete blank on there being a Paris in Romeo and Juliette.

Decent puzzle and amusing theme. Probably not my favorite Naddor, but still worth working.

Peter said...

For some reason I woke up and thought today was Wednesday, so I was originally miffed at how hard it was. Talk about a weird morning!

I liked the puzzle a lot. Only beef is if the puzzle is going to be themed, you usually want all your longest answers to be theme answers. Not really possible with this grid setup. Anyway, I enjoyed it.

I wonder hom many other Naddor works are still in the queue.

Eric said...

Of the theme answers, CROC POT and DOC WORKER tickled my funnybone. The only one that bugged me was CHIC FLICK -- because of the pronunciation change, not the undropped K.

23A had to be EAGLE, because "eye in a pyramid" just wasn't fnord gonna fit :-)

I'd never heard of EMILIO de' Cavalieri, but from what I've just been listening to, I'm going to have to check him out! He was right on the cusp between Renaissance and Baroque. Here's the first part of what Wikipedia says (in not quite these words :-)) was a major hit in his day, composed for a Medici wedding. The soprano is the wonderful Emma Kirkby, who specializes in early music. This made a natick with ARIE (sports), but not an insuperable one; though EMILeO seemed plausible, AReE kinda didn't...

@ddbmc: I think the guy with the beard might be the only Cavaliere [sic] I had heard of before today: Felix, of Young Rascals fame.

M_CRO-economics x _UN_ Pittypat x _CU messed me up too. Don't know Gone with the Wind or sports, so that was another natick, and M_CRO could be either I or A, with the clue giving no hint as to which ... so I had to do an alphabet run on AUN_ (just glad I didn't have to do IUN_ too :-)).

But my real struggle was with the NE. deARMS for UNARMS and ABS for PEC, and pg-RATED 'cause I couldn't think of any other two-letter U.S. rating codes (we have different ones up here), and UNRATED didn't occur to me. As for UNARM, well, I think of "unarmed" as a state, not an action, and that to make someone that way is to disarm them. But dictionary.com sanctions "unarm" (though not "dearm"). Whatever...

I whittled away at this puzzle, pretty much one letter at a time, and finally finished -- which I often don't manage on a Friday -- without Googles, which I almost never manage on a Friday. Plus I discovered a new composer I like. So I'm a happy puzzler today! It even makes up for yesterday's RIODO snafu :-)

mac said...

I liked the puzzle and the many theme answers, and could predict the complaints about the other cks in it. Didn't bother me much. Personally I liked the chic flick the best.

Is that a picture of a very your and handsome Arie Luijendijk? That last name must be one of the hardest to pronounce for English speakers. The ui(j) and ij sound don't exist here.

I also don't get the step on it - path connection.

hugh said...

It's Mort Walker.

KJGooster said...

@John W and @mac: I guess it's "Step on it" as in "Walk on it," as you would walk on a PATH. Weird clue, though.

OK puzzle. Off to bed.